You can get away with stealing from the land, mining its minerals, for a while. You may see some drop off in volume or quality, you may be able to compensate for a while, you may be able to take the productivity hit and still make out. But eventually you will be caught and punished. There’s no free lunch, though payment is made on the honor system. You can cheat for a while, until lunch is no longer provided.
It doesn’t get any more straightforward than that.